We all love to snack, and we are trying to do it more healthfully (at times!). But sometimes, a beautiful assortment of cut-up veggies just is not going to fit the bill in terms of crunchy, salty satisfaction.
Making your own roasted pumpkin seeds means you can make sure the oil and the salt remain within reason. You also get to make your kids aware that not all snacks come in crinkly bags; sometimes, they come in a pumpkin. (And hey, perfect stovetop popcorn is the other go-to healthy snack in our house!)
Once you get hooked on these little treats, I promise you’ll be putting them on everything. I love using them as a garnish for Butternut Squash Soup, to add crunch to a Winter Salad, or a Broccoli Casserole. The roasty-toasty flavor and satisfying crunch will have you sprinkling on some more as you eat.
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How to Cook Pumpkin Seeds: Crunchy, salty and nutritious; the next time you’re carving or cooking with a pumpkin, make use of those seeds!Tweet This
- Pumpkin seeds – You can buy raw pumpkin seeds by themselves in bags from the store. More likely than not, you’ve found this recipe because you’re wondering what to do with all the seeds from the pumpkin you just carved. Just make sure to rinse them thoroughly to get off all the pulp and juice, and dry them before baking for the crunchiest results.
- Salt – Really brings out the flavors of the seeds and magically transforms them into a delicious snack!
- Oil – Helps the seeds get crunchy in the oven (and stay crunchy).
- You (and your little chefs) can investigate the spice drawer and come up with your own brand of “house” pumpkin seeds. There are so many spices and herbs that will work well in roasting pumpkin seeds. Take a moment and unscrew the lids of the cumin and chili powder jars, sniff around, and see what moves you. If your kids do the sprinkling themselves, it’s a good bet that they will A) give those seeds a try, and B) not be so stunned to encounter these flavors in next week’s turkey chili.
- One of my favorites is a sweet variation. Mix the pumpkin seeds with 1 tablespoon melted butter, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon white or brown sugar before baking. These are great on top of muffins or a loaf of pumpkin zucchini bread, or as a sweet but healthy snack!
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
- Carve a pumpkin: Scoop out all of the guts and seeds from your pumpkin. Now, you have to rinse away the slimy, fibrous goop that coats the seeds. It’s messy work, and some kids will find it gross in a yucky way, but some will find it gross in an enticing way.
- Rinse the seeds: Remove as much of the extra glop as possible, then put the seeds in a colander. Letting the water run over them, pick out and rinse the individual seeds, spreading them on a dishtowel in a single layer to thoroughly dry. Let them air-dry for at least 3 hours.
- Season: Once the pumpkin seeds have been cleaned and dried, transfer them onto a baking sheet with sides. Pour over the oil. Sprinkle the seeds with the salt and any spices you are using. Use your hand or a wooden spoon to really mix everything up so the seeds are well coated with the oil and seasonings.
- Roast: Spread the seeds out in a single layer. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until they are golden brown and fragrant. Give the tray a shake once or twice during the roasting process to move the seeds around.
- Cool & serve: Let the seeds cool and then taste for salt, adding more if necessary.
I have seen lots of recipes that call for hulling pumpkin seeds (which means cracking off the outer shell and just using the smaller kernel inside), but I have neither the time nor the patience for such things. And the shells are perfectly edible, if not exactly tender; it’s really all about the roasting and the salt anyway. And it can also be about the seasonings, if you choose.
Yes, I would definitely recommend drying out pumpkin seeds before roasting. It is necessary to rinse them to get all the pumpkin guts off, and they will be very wet. If you stuck them straight in the oven, they might steam instead of getting nice and crunchy. When you air dry them first, they get nice and dry throughout and then will crisp up nicely in the oven.
Straight from the pumpkin, the seeds will be completely covered in stringy orange goop. To remove the big pieces of pumpkin guts, just pick them out with your hands. Then, place the seeds in a mesh strainer and rinse under running water to wash off the goopy innards. It can take a bit of picking around to get them completely clean, but it’s worth it for the crunchy result.
Pumpkin seeds can be kept in a sealed container at room temperature for at least two weeks. They will last for about 3 months in the refrigerators. To freeze them, transfer them to a freezer-proof sealable bag, press out any excess air, label the bag, and freeze for up to 9 months.
What to Serve With Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
More Pumpkin Recipes
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How to Cook Pumpkin Seeds
- 2 cups rinsed and dried raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
- Kosher salt (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder (or a combination of any or all of the four seasonings; optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Scoop out all of the guts and seeds from your pumpkin. Now, you have to rinse away the slimy, fibrous goop that coats the seeds. It’s messy work, and some kids will find it gross in a yucky way, but some will find it gross in an enticing way. Remove as much of the extra glop as possible, then put the seeds in a colander and, letting the water run over them, pick out and rinse the individual seeds, spreading them in a single layer on a dishtowel to thoroughly dry, at least 3 hours.
- Once the pumpkin seeds have been cleaned and dried, transfer them onto a baking sheet with sides and pour the oil over. Sprinkle the seeds with the salt and any spice or spices you are using. Use your hand or a wooden spoon to really mix everything up so the seeds are well-coated with the oil and seasonings. Spread the seeds out in a single layer. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until they are golden brown and fragrant. Give the tray a shake once or twice during the roasting process to move the seeds around.
- Let the seeds cool and then taste for salt, adding more if necessary.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.